Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out--but ignorance and superstition in. To read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.
I didn't know what to expect from Sugar as I read the opening scene of a horrendous murder of a young black girl named Jude and the devastated mother she left behind named Pearl. The year was 1940, the place was a southern black town, and it was the era of segregation...
"No one cared except the people who carried the same skin color"
Bernice McFadden made me feel the anguish of a mother who lost her child; the injustice of the times as it was known nothing was going to be done about it... And then she whisked me ahead 15 years. Pearl is still mourning the loss of her daughter, Jude, in her quiet reserved manner... But there's a new girl in town, and her name is Sugar - a young prostitute looking to change her life. Sugar exudes sex, with her short short skirts, spiky high heels, and BIG attitude. Pearl is a quiet obedient church-going wife. Their unlikely friendship creates amazing changes in both of them... much to the dismay of Pearl's church going friends, but to the delight of Pearls family.
Bernice is a master storyteller. Her prose is beautiful. As the layers of this story unfold, of murder, secrets, jealousy and pride, Bernice seamlessly weaves it all together to an amazing ending. I felt a whirlwind of emotions as I read Sugar; I laughed, I cried and I felt anger. I saw past those short skirts Sugar wore and found a little girl struggling to catch her breathe. And I walked through a small town scared to open its arms to someone who obviously wasn't 'one of them'... or was she? I kept turning those pages... Graphic in nature at times, but not gratuitous, you will appreciate Sugar's sincerity. You'll appreciate the rich, complex and strong female characters fully fleshed out and who don't shy away from sharing their feelings. Bernice has also captured the feel of small town life, with the soft whispers heard between small clutches of people. The story will grab your attention, and your heart, and will not let you go until the very last page.
Sugar is friendship... it's honesty wrapped up in the poetry of words... it's redemption and it's powerful...
Would you like to read an excerpt? Read the first chapter at the publisher's website! You can also learn more about Bernice and her writing at her website, bernicemcfadden.com. There you will also find discussion questions, because Sugar would make an excellent reading group pick! I want to thank Bernice for sending me a review copy! I just loved reading Sugar! And I want to thank Bernice for also letting me know that there is a sequel to Sugar! The story continues with This Bitter Earth! I'm so happy because I wasn't quite ready to give up visiting Bigelow, Arkansas and spending time with Sugar! A wonderful story & wonderful characters, what more can you ask for?!